Newborns, like the jar of baby bee cream that lingers forgotten in my junk drawer, smell of time passing too swiftly. The scent of kaolin clay and spanish moss remains in this last glass jar of many. It should have been disposed of by now, but to me it smells of days past, the essence of nostalgia gently calling to me.
I am reminded of when a red-faced, screaming, 10 lb. baby girl was my constant companion. A newly minted mother, my whole identity suddenly wrapped up in this small human who frankly, seemed to hate the world she’d been delivered into.
When my misery found company in the form of another new mother and colicky baby, I latched immediately. She felt my pain and welcomed me in. Afternoons were spent side by side, nursing babies, sipping teas which promised to pacify our angry children. We bonded over our shared experience of new motherhood and crying babies. That first jar of baby bee cream, her gift to me.
Our babies eventually gave up their afternoon bouts of crying, and we continued to navigate the journey of motherhood together. When she moved away, we were left to watch our babies grow into big kids from afar. However, that first postpartum friendship left me with a confidence in my mothering I didn’t have before. One born out of discovering our strengths as we struggled side by side.
With each baby, new jars were purchased—forever the smell of chubby legs and diapers, comfort and familiarity.
In the drawer it lies; a reminder of former days, an era I won’t relive. It’s impractical I know, to hold cherished memories in a jar. Already the smell is degrading.
I watch my daughter and realize how far we’ve come. I no longer need to adjust her shower and she reads to herself. In the mornings I find her at the table, cereal in bowl, milk poured. Was it not just yesterday I did those things for her? Maybe last week? It has certainly been years since she smelled of baby bee.
That little jar rescued is something I should let go of. Once a symbol, now just junk. What I don’t have to release is what the empty jar represents—a time gone by, a short fiery point in my life where I was inaugurated into the halls of motherhood and fierce friendship. That is certainly worth remembering.
So into the recycling bin it goes. The glass will be melted and crushed in the fire. Shaped into something new, just as I have been.
When I’m shopping for baby gifts, I’ll always purchase a baby bee jar. With the cream, I’ll send all my hope and prayers; that as they are forged in the fires of motherhood, a friend will mentor and walk beside them just like mine did. Until that time comes, I’ll replace the smell of nostalgia with the smell of an oil blend called “Let it Go”— to admonish me that those memories will always be mine, and I don’t need clutter to commemorate them.
Guest post written by Jenn Shehata. Jenn is a messy mom and ordinary nurse living a beautiful life. She writes to remember and to reimagine the story. She writes about motherhood and nursing and all the thing that make her cry at Cry and Nurse On. When she's not chasing her three kids, watching Netflix with her husband, or working in the NICU, she is a voracious reader, always looking to understand the world better through people's stories. Preferably with a latte in hand.